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Norwegian Retail Sales Surge as Oil Spending Boosts Jobs

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March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Norwegian retail sales surged at more than twice the estimated pace after the central bank cut interest rates and as record oil spending boosts employment.

Sales, excluding motor vehicles and petrol stations, rose 7.4 percent in February from a year earlier, the Oslo-based statistics office said today. They were estimated to rise an annual 2.7 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey of four analysts. They rose 1.1 percent in the month.

The world’s seventh-largest oil exporter is rebounding as rising crude oil prices fuel investments in the nation’s offshore industry. The central bank, or Norges Bank, this month lowered its main interest rate for a second time since December to support growth and avoid excessive gains in the krone.

“This points in the direction of higher rates and strengthens our belief that Norges Bank will reverse the March rate cut already in August,” said Knut Magnussen, an economist at DNB ASA in Oslo, in a note to clients.

A report today also showed Norwegian manufacturing accelerated at the fastest pace since October 2007 in March. A seasonally adjusted index based on responses from purchasing managers rose to 59.7 from a revised 56.7 in February, Oslo-based Fokus Bank said. A reading above 50 signals an expansion.

The country’s registered jobless rate fell in March to 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent in February, the Oslo-based Labor and Welfare Organization said yesterday.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alastair Reed at areed12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net

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